Landscape Beds and Entries
What components comprise a professional landscape?
As a landscape professional, I ask a fairly complex question of my customers; “what look do you have in mind for your landscape”? On many occasions I get, “I’d like my yard to look great” or “I want some nice curb appeal”. These generalized statements are exactly what designers constantly address. The fact is many customers lack an understanding of what a professional landscape can entail. I will cover some of the basics in the design concept below.
Per Wikipedia – Landscaping refers to any activity that modifies the visible features of an area of land, including:
1. Living elements, such as flora or fauna; or what is commonly referred to as gardening, the art and craft of growing plants with a goal of creating a beautiful environment within the landscape.
2. Natural elements such as landforms, terrain shape and elevation, or bodies of water;
3. Human elements such as structures, buildings, fences or other material objects created and/or installed by humans; and
4. Abstract elements such as the weather and lighting conditions.
Landscaping is both science and art, and requires good observation and design skills. A good landscaper understands the elements of nature and construction, and blends them accordingly.
The above definition speaks of elements both natural and human. A landscape professional will have an eye for combining these elements in a creative, harmonious, and sustainable manner. In a perfect world, I have a few elements available right out of the shoot. The first natural element I prefer to have or add is elevation. In the picture below, one can clearly see how the ground slopes. This is a good example of elevation change. Elevation change allows one to stack items, if done properly; nothing is hidden behind taller items. Depth is visibly created in the bed through the use of contrasting elements. The picture below does a nice job of featuring contrast as well. We see contrast in color from plant to plant and through the introduction of boulders. I also see the use of contrasting texture as some plantings offer long grassy leaves where others have small dainty leaves. I see too many landscapes where there is very little contrast between one plant and the next. This slope planted with only plants providing green foliage would have presented an entirely different look. Again and again, I see my eye drawn to landscapes that combine elevation change, stone elements, contrasting foliage color, contrasting foliage texture, and differing heights. If you can maintain these principles your landscape is off to the right start in my opinion.
What not to do?
Here is a good example of “In my opinion” what not to do in your landscape. As a landscaper, I crying when I see yards like this. If nothing else it goes to show just how important professional landscaping is in the overall valuation of your property. This random placement of stones, and bleak expanse of river rock, only lessons the value of this home.
Williams – Project before and afters
Privacy was gained through the installation of large trees, some topping out at 4″ caliper. We also utilized grade change through berming and boulder work to elevate our plantings. Elevation change also aided us in providing our customer with a nice water feature. Hardscaping in the form of pavers and castle wall added additional usable space to the back yard. A natural gas fire pit was installed to take the chill out of those cold Nebraska nights. Lastly, we installed lighting on both the landscaping, hardscaping, and the house itself. Here we did our best to better life for this uprooted Mizzu fan. May your ship sail strong on this ever present sea of red.
Zysset – Project after pictures
This project is filling in nicely wouldn’t you say. This was a major renovation, with essentially most of the back yard being torn out. We worked around the large trees, contracted concrete experts to weave the sidewalk and steps through the landscape down the slope. The deck was added using composit materials for durability. A sound system was built into the landscape as construction ensued, lighting was also built into the project. This picture just doesn’t do the project justice, you just have to be there and interact with the space to have a feel for how much is going on!